A Fine Line: Climate Impressions

Ice forming over the course of a day. Sierra Crest. (February 2018)

Ice forming over the course of a day. Sierra Crest. (February 2018)


A Fine Line

A small degree of separation that exists between liquid and solid when we discuss the conditions of the bond between two hydrogen and one oxygen particle. It is one that is so very important though, yet so very overlooked. It is the difference between a more controlled melt and delayed feed to our crops, and swift ephemera that knows no July, and whose nutrients supply no blossom, root or hoof appropriately.We depend on lasting snow and ice pack as a nation to fuel us throughout the year, and keep steady streams (literally and figuratively) of power and life flowing so we can as well.  

From late November 2017, through late March 2018, the winter season was well above and below average in the worst of ways. As of the new year, some locations were seeing just 3% of annual snowpack along the Pacific Crest of the Sierras, and record highs meant any precipitation that did fall was in liquid form, unable to hold high on the peaks we rely on for their expected lower temperatures.

During this period, I took sheets of expired photographic paper to the same two locations on Sierra Crest (50 miles apart in the North Central Sierra) to record climate and precipitation conditions. Both of the locations melt into the American River via the North and South forks. The first body demonstrates day where temperatures were too warm for solid to stay in its static state (dropping off icicles, snow from pines  and even rain would fall instead of snow at altitude. Water collected on these sheets from such sources or from the American River itself refused to stay frozen during the exposure process, leaving rounded and free patterns- blobular information. The second body demonstrates temperatures later in the season and days where it was cold enough for water to freeze or stay frozen long enough during exposure times so that fractal ice patterns formed on the sheets themselves. The third body shows depth layers of storm accumulation and wind drifts of snow, as the sheets descend vertically into the pack.

These are literal "climate impressions". 



Body 1: Too Warm                                                                                                                                  

Body 2: Entire Days at or below 32º


Body 3: Snow Depth